Historic Sites Around Jekyll Island

Your vacation to Georgia’s Jekyll Island will surely be full of unforgettable experiences. You may spend your days enjoying the water, walking through local nature preserves, dining or shopping in the middle of town, or relaxing in one of our Jekyll Island rentals. But while you’re in town, don’t miss the chance to learn some of the fascinating Jekyll Island histories around you!

This breathtaking destination is more than meets the eye and has a backstory that you must experience for yourself. Check out these three historical sites near our Jekyll Island cottages while you’re in town!

Horton House

Step back to the 18th century when you visit the Horton House Historic Site. In the 1700s, Georgia experienced significant growth and began a period of rich colonial history, and these times can be revisited at the Horton House. The home gets its name from Major William Horton, who settled on Jekyll Island on the orders of General James Oglethorpe, who had come to Georgia himself during the 1730s.

Major Horton came to the Jekyll Island area to help expand and settle the Georgia coast. As General Oglethorpe’s right-hand man, Major Horton was in charge of clearing fields, creating the first roads, and performing other tasks to make Jekyll Island more inhabitable. During his time here, Major Horton constructed his house out of tabby, a combination of lime, water, and sand.

Horton's House, a historic landmark located in Jekyll Island

Although the Spanish burned the house during the 1742 raid, it was soon rebuilt and inhabited by Poulain du Bignon. This French officer lived in the home for decades before his passing, and sadly, the house fell into ruin at that point. Today, the public is welcome to visit this breathtaking destination on North Riverview Drive. You can come and explore the home and its surroundings for free, but you will pay a small admission price to access the island.

During your visit, there’s much more to see than just the house itself. You can see plenty of historical plaques and markers on the grounds, explaining what would have gone on in this house’s heyday. You can also visit DuBignon Cemetery across the street and admire the view of the Marshes of Glynn. 

Historic Jekyll Wharf

When you head out of our Jekyll Island vacation rentals and make your way to the historic district, enjoy the Historic Jekyll Wharf. Although there is plenty of history to see, you can also enjoy modern features like Jekyll Island seafood restaurants, boat tours, and more. You can easily spend an entire day enjoying everything the Historic Jekyll Wharf has to offer!

Visiting the Historic Jekyll Wharf gives you a fantastic location right near the Intracoastal Waterway, allowing you to see the ships roll by and wonder what historical figures may have taken to these waters themselves! This area has long been one of the most popular destinations across Jekyll Island, so there’s no telling what fascinating history you’ll find as you walk around. 

As you enjoy the Wharf, keep your eyes peeled for historical markers nearby. These markers provide extra insight into the area’s backstory and how Jekyll Island transformed into today’s breathtaking tourist spot. Plus, you’ll be right outside the Historic District, allowing you to spend a whole afternoon learning about the area’s past. 

Of course, you can enjoy more than just history here. Sit around and watch the waves roll in; just be sure to stick around for the magnificent sunset! You can also come here to dine at the superb Wharf Restaurants, serving up family-friendly meals with a gorgeous view of the water steps away from your table. You can also visit the Wharf to embark on an eco-tour. Thanks to your knowledgeable guide, you’ll get to sail out into the waters and learn a bit more about the area. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see a dolphin or two along the way! 

National Historic Landmark District

The National Historic Landmark District is a “can’t miss” attraction if you’re a history buff (or have one in your group). This area once played host to dozens of famous names, serving as an exclusive winter retreat destination mid-to-late 1800s. Some of the area’s most famous inhabitants have included William Vanderbilt, Joseph Pulitzer, and J.P. Morgan. 

When you visit the National Historic Landmark District, you’ll be standing where the Jekyll Island Club used to stand. This club allowed its members to enjoy hunting, golf, tennis, horseback riding, picnics, and more throughout its 240-acre space. There are more than 30 historic structures in the district today. The ongoing renovation and conservation efforts mark this district as “one of the largest ongoing restoration projects in the southeastern United States.”

Throughout the district, you’ll find plenty of cottages that once belonged to prominent figures from the area. For instance, you can visit the Hollybourne Cottage, which was once home to Charles Stewart Maurice, responsible for many of the country’s road and railway bridges. Mistletoe Cottage was the home of architect Charles Alling Gifford, while Villa Opso was the home of Walter Jennings, who served as President of the Jekyll Island Club in the 1920s. 

But the District contains more than just homes and cottages. You can also visit the Faith Chapel, constructed in 1904. This unmistakable red church has welcomed clergy of many denominations and was a gathering place for locals for many years. There’s also the Infirmary, which served to nurse sick residents back to health beginning in 1930. Finally, visit the Skeet House, built in the 1930s to allow club members to store their skeet shooting equipment. 

Plan Your Visit!

Immerse yourself in the dense history of Jekyll Island! Book your Jekyll Island vacation rental today!

Guests in our Jekyll Island vacation rentals often remark about how awe-inspiring the history of this area is, and we have to agree! What is now a bustling tourist destination began as a simple settlement of a few hundred people, and today, we can look back and see all the value they’ve brought to the area. To make the most of your time here and explore as much history as possible, be sure to book a stay with Parker-Kaufman!

Parker-Kaufman is proud to be your top resource for Jekyll Island and St. Simons Island rentals. We offer properties for groups of all sizes, so there’s sure to be an accommodation that you fall in love with. The Cottages at Jekyll Island make you feel at home with cozy amenities and plenty of activity nearby. Our Villas by the Sea at Jekyll Island are sure to impress for something a bit more luxurious. No matter where you stay, you can enjoy the comforts of home, such as high-speed WiFi, flat-screen TVs, fully stocked kitchens, and more. 

Jekyll Island, Georgia, is the perfect destination for your next romantic getaway or fun-filled family trip. When it’s time to start planning, reach out to Parker-Kaufman. We can help you find the property of your dreams and make your dream vacation a reality.